After a long, possibly cramped flight to Buenos Aires, the last thing anyone wants is to run into problems at the airport. Here’s a quick guide to help you get through the international Buenos Aires airport and getting into the city center to begin enjoying your stay in Argentina!
Customs and passport control
After disembarking your plane, you will be immediately ushered through immigration. Be prepared, as depending on the number of flights arriving at the same time, you may stand in line for a while. Don’t forget to fill out the immigration form they give you on the plane. If you are from Canada, United States or Australia you will have to pay a one time Argentinian tourist visa fee that lasts for 10 years. This needs to be paid online in advance. Here are some instructions on where to go and how to do it.
Once you are through immigration, you will then need to retrieve your luggage. Just grab a free luggage cart (yes, they really are free), collect your bags and make your way to the customs inspectors. Don’t be surprised if you get waved through customs without inspection, as they scan the bags of incoming foreign tourists less often. They will be looking for electronics and other highly taxed items that are new that Argentinians tend to bring in. There is a 50% tax on new items for locals above $300 USD.
The next task at hand, if you haven’t already made airport transportation arrangements, will be to get cash and find a taxi. DO NOT change dollars at the money changing stations in the airport because they will give you a low rate of exchange AND charge an additional service fee. Instead, find an ATM (cajero) in the arrivals lobby of the airport and extract what you need.
Keep in mind there is no reliable public transportation from Ezeiza international airport to the Buenos Aires city center. We highly recommend organizing your transportation ahead of time to eliminate any hassle.
Remise – a private car, much like a taxi, but without the cool yellow and black paint. Hiring a remise will cost you around $75 USD. A small tip is nice if your driver helps you with your bags or is friendly and offers good advice, but not necessary. If you want, you can hire airport transportation through us ahead of time and have a driver waiting for you with a sign at the exit of baggage inspection. The drivers are all bilingual, drive relatively new vans and you will not have to wait in line to hire a driver, and are very reliable.
Generally speaking remises are the safest (you know the company you hired) means of transportation, they are paid in advance and know the address and destination. If you’d rather hire one in the moment rather than book one before you fly then use the booths inside of the airport. You may have to wait a bit, but they are safer than the stands outside or the rogue taxis outside.
Authorized Taxi – Taxis will cost you a bit less than remise (or at least in theory). The stands outside have a mixed reputation of good and bad, fair and rip off. Use your better judgment. Ask what the rate is at one of the inside booths is (inflation here constantly changes the prices so it is hard for even us to keep up) and do a bit of compare and contrast.
Illegal Taxis – After walking through the doors to the curbside waiting area, you will find a line of remises waiting at the Manuel Tienda Leon cabin, a line of official yellow taxis waiting for their next clients, as well as a line of men dressed in casual wear. If you wait just a minute or two at least one of these men will approach you and offer you a ride into town. This is actually an illegal business offer, as official airport taxis are the only ones technically allowed to do business at the airport. But if you’re sly, your Spanish isn’t too bad, and you want to save a few pesos, take one of these guys up on their offer. An illegal taxi ride should cost less than hiring an official taxi.
Airport Shuttle Bus – Manuel Tienda Leon offers a slightly less expensive airport transportation option to the city center. It’s especially useful for single budget travelers. The shuttle costs around a third of what taxis and remises cost and runs every hour. This shuttle will take you between the airport and Manuel Tienda Leon’s headquarters, located at the intersection very close to the Retiro bus station. Keep in mind that this drop-off spot will likely require you to hire an additional taxi to take you and your luggage to your hostel, hotel or apartment, so in the end may be around the same price as hiring a taxi or remise.
Public Bus (colectivo) – Line 86 of the local public bus transportation system and also the only public transport that runs regularly from the airport. The bus is your cheapest option, by far (costing you about $10 pesos). There are several drawbacks to this most affordable option, however. First, if you have luggage, it will be a cramped public bus ride into the city. Second, the 86 will slowly lumber into town and will take at least two hours. And third, the colectivos only accept payment in coin form or with a SUBE card. The 86 will take you all the way to Plaza de Mayo, a major landmark of Buenos Aires and a great place to start your travel experience. Disembark the bus at the Plaza, take a quick glimpse of the Casa Rosada, the Catedral Metropolitana and the Cabildo, and make your way to the nearby subway (subte) station to get to your hostel, hotel or apartment.
Updated June 2014